The move comes after the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) identified a heightened cyber threat to the UK health sector in relation to the pandemic, with cyber crime groups attempting to steal sensitive intelligence, intellectual property and personal information from pharmaceutical companies and medical research organisations.
Small and medium-sized businesses, such as medical suppliers and primary care providers, are being invited to apply for a slice of the £500,000 funding for the initiative which will see all consultancy and certification costs covered by the government.
Participants can receive guidance and support to get accreditation from the government’s Cyber Essentials certification. This includes training to make sure all phones, tablets, laptops or computers are kept-up-to-date, proper firewall usage to secure devices’ internet connections, and user access controls to manage employee access to services.
Firms could opt to receive support from one of the program’s cyber experts, who will look at the organization as a whole, identify its cyber security risks and help develop and implement a business continuity plan.